Domoic acid is a major component of many common marine toxin substances.
It is one of the most widely distributed elements in nature, and its presence in sea life is widespread. Domoic acid in fact was considered the inspiration for the film “The Birds” by Alfred Hitchcock. As (Spoiler alert) the premise of overly aggressive birds that inexplicably flew in a flock upon pedestrians below. Which was based on true events that took place in California back in 1961. When there suddenly was an over abundance of highly aggressive Seabirds.
But, why were they affected the most?
Because marine birds are susceptible to elevated levels of domoic acid due to their very slow metabolism, they are often accidentally ingested by passing fish. Once inside their bodies, levels quickly rise, eventually resulting in death. This is because the body cannot break down the acid fast enough, so the levels continue to rise and eventually explode from human-induced levels. Because of this, domoic acid is particularly dangerous to birds such as shorebirds, certain species of birds, and seahorses. The fumes lead to a very rapid respiratory deterioration and can easily lead to their unfortunate passing.
Fish, crustaceans, mollusks, crabs, and other crustaceans are often accidentally poisoned by other seafood. Domoic acid is most commonly found in marine and freshwater fish. It is found in high levels in shrimp, crab meat, swordfish, and dolphins. Ingestion results in a very rapid onset of intoxication, which makes treatment quite difficult. Symptoms include lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, bloating, diarrhea, fatigue, and shock.
Because decease animals contain extremely high levels of domoic acid, it is not only harmful to marine animals, but other forms of life. Excessive levels of the poison may cause complications within hours of consumption. Symptoms include headaches, dizziness, convulsions, loss of consciousness, and respiratory failure. Severe cases may also result in coma, or an untimely demise. It has been said that it is even lethal enough to deplete a number of seal colonies on Alaska’s Cape Spencer.
The decease creatures that are consumed accidentally also contain high levels of acid. These crabs, lobsters, and other crustaceans have high concentrations of the poison in their bodies. Some species are sensitive to alkaline and will pass away from low levels of the poison. However, other species will absorb the acid and remain alive. These are particularly dangerous because the ingested acid may be absorbed through the gills, mouth, and digestive system.
Domoic acid toxins have been found in a number of different types of birds. In addition to marine birds, the toxin has been found in many crustaceans and fish. Decease crustaceans contain more than 90% of the acid in the body. The crabs and lobsters will react to the toxin and begin to vomit and exude mucus as a result. The birds that eat the decease crabs and lobsters could suffer from a severe burning sensation in their stomachs.
Domoic acid poisoning is only one of the problems caused by this toxic waste. This is because the decease birds do not present the same problem of food contamination as dead coral reefs. Many aquatic wildlife refuges have been affected even by the potential of acidic rain brought about by the rise of global warming. One of the many imbalances this planet already faces with each passing year.
Luckily, there is an environmentally friendly solution for all of these problems. A revolutionary new sea filtration device has been developed that could remove 99% of the acid from the water. This may make it more safe for living marine birds and shrimp to consume. This acid removal makes domoic acid toxic in any water condition, and completely eliminates the threat it poses to wild sea life.
Provided by Antonio Westley
Disclaimer: This article is meant to be seen as an overview of this subject and not a reflection of viewpoints or opinions as nothing is definitive. So, make sure to do your research and feel free to use this information at your own discretion.